Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny: Book Review

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Nine Princes in Amber

3 Stars
This is a tough book to summarize. Let’s just say that Mr. Corey wakes up with amnesia after a nasty car crash and sets out to recover his memory and then to take back what he sees as his.

Starting this was a leap of faith. Corey tells the story and since he doesn’t know anything about what’s going on, neither do we. He’s confused, we’re confused, and I for one was left wondering if it was worth the effort to continue on. Luckily, I decided that since I’d heard so many good things about this author and since the book was only about 150 pages, I really had nothing to lose and possibly a lot to gain. Once I got going with the story and started getting tantalizing pieces about the story behind the story, I was hooked. Even after finishing, I have some questions, but I know that this series has to be worth the ride.

I love Zelazny’s writing. He has a unique voice and some of his descriptions were incredibly original. Of course I didn’t do anything useful like mark them, but here’s one I did find again: “his skin was as porous as an orange rind and the elements had darkened it to resemble a fine old piece of furniture.” Can’t you just picture this guy’s skin?

As much as I liked it, there were a couple of things I didn’t care for. There’s a big old deus ex machina at the end. (Here’s hoping I got hold of the correct phrase) Maybe it will tie in later, but right now it just felt like an easy way out after he had painted himself into a corner.

This isn’t really anything to do with the story, but my copy is chock-full of typos. It’s easy enough to figure out what Zelazny meant most of the time, but there were a few instances where the sentence could work in a couple of different ways. There was at least one time when a few sentences were repeated for no reason. It got really distracting.

I’m going to give this three stars, mostly because of what I just mentioned and because I still have lots of questions about what exactly is going on. I’ll definitely be continuing the series, and who knows? I might bump my rating up later.

Reviewed September 2009

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Friday Flashback Reviews are a weekly feature here on The Introverted Reader. These are old reviews I wrote on GoodReads. Thanks to Angieville and her Retro Friday Reviews for the inspiration and encouragement!

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  1. They will all tie together but it takes a while. I love the series and have re-read some of my favorite books a couple of times.

  2. I read this book and the next two in the series and then stopped. I kept wondering what was going on and was hoping my questions would be answered in the next book but that never seemed to happen. Maybe I should get these off the shelf and take another look.

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